There’s only so much the Charlotte Bobcats can do, and it seems that after game 3, which the Miami Heat won 98-85 with another dominant performance from LeBron James, the defending NBA champions will be headed into the conference semifinals with plenty of rest compared to whoever they have to face next.
LeBron James had 30 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists. The biggest talking point of the game? Did LeBron James state down Michael Jordan as he was going for the dunk on the breakaway. It was that boring in the second half, as the Heat’s defense turned it up a notch, and after weathering the storm that mostly included some nice post moves from Al Jefferson in the first quarter, the law of averages or something of the sort made things seem natural: The Heat coasting to victory against the Bobcats.
The interior defense after the first quarter was tremendous from the Heat. Al Jefferson had nine points on 4-of-5 from the field when shooting from the post in the first quarter, but had only two more attempts the rest of the game, missing both of them. He finished with 20 points, but his foot injury makes him decline quickly after a strong start. The Heat had no trouble containing him after letting him spend all of his energy early on.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist didn’t just get blocked nicely by Chris Bosh. He was 0-for-5 from the field in the restricted area, after shooting 59.1% from the restricted area during the regular season. The Heat held the Bobcats to 11-for-29 from inside five feet, including 11-of-28 in the restricted area. The Bobcats finished scoring only 28 points in the paint and relied on jump shots, which resulted in a poor 41.5% from the field.
Someone who had no problem hitting his jump shots was James and the Heat in general, finishing with 50% from beyond the arc. They were 11-of-20 on catch and shoot plays including a special 9-of-13 from beyond the arc. Both Ray Allen and Norris Cole connected twice from beyond the arc, while James seemed to do it from everywhere, including from the line where he was a almost perfect 9-of-10.
How is Dwyane Wade’s rest going? He is playing like there’s no injury, spending 34 minutes on the floor, scoring 17 points. He’s averaging 34 minutes a game in the postseason so far which is slightly more than his regular season average. The Heat might have a shot at resting him a bit more in game 4, if the Bobcats are indeed broken like they seemed to be in the third quarter, realizing that the franchise’s first playoff win ever might not be so easy to reach.
Sometimes history is right. The Bobcats went in confident to this series because of how they played in certain games this season, but their matchup problems with the Heat haven’t suddenly gone away. The Miami Heat have beaten them in every game since the Big Three was formed, and even the best Bobcats team of all-time isn’t good enough to do something about it, so the best they can do is hope they’ll be better next season. One more game, two more games, it doesn’t matter: This series is over.